Heteropogon contortus (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult.

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Heteropogon contortus

Photo: Theo van der Merwe
Farm Bokplaas, Inhassoro, on the Temane gasfield

Heteropogon contortus

Photo: Theo van der Merwe
Farm Bokplaas, Inhassoro, on the Temane gasfield

Heteropogon contortus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Bunga Camp, base of Mt Bunga, northwestern Gorongosa National Park.

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Synonyms: Andropogon contortus L.
Andropogon hispidissimus Hochst. ex Steud.
Heteropogon hispidissimus Hochst. ex A. Rich.
Common names: Spear grass (English) Tanglehead (English)
Status: Native
Annuals or perennials. Inflorescence a solitary raceme arising terminally and in the axils, sometimes loosely aggregated in a false panicle; raceme with homogamous spikelets for the lower 1/4-2/3 of their length; internodes linear. Sessile spikelets terete; callus pungent; lower glume convex; lower floret reduced to a hyaline lemma; upper floret passing directly into an awn. Pedicellate spikelets male or barren, larger than the sessile, awnless.
Derivation of specific name: contortus: contorted, twisted
Habitat: In deciduous woodland, wooded grassland and on sand dunes, dominant in open grassy places on dry soils.
Altitude range: 0 - 1400 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Pantropical and subtropical.
Mozambique distribution: N,Z,T,MS,GI,M
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Thursday 28 September 2017

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 348. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 31.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 20.

Cope, T.A. (2002). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(4) Pages 146 - 148. (Includes a picture).

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 135.

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 460. (Includes a picture).

Isaiah, A.M. & Komi, T. (2015). Grasses in the Botswana National Botanic Garden South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria Page 25. (Includes a picture).

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 43.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 105.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 131.

Roodt, V. (2015). Grasses & Grazers of Botswana and the surrounding savanna Struik Nature, South Africa Pages 136 - 137. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 138.

Siebert, S. & Mössmer, M. (Editors) (2002). SABONET Southern Mozambique Expedition 2001; Provisional Plant Checklist of the Maputo Elephant Reserve (MER) and Licuati Forest Reserve (LFR) SABONET News 7(1) Page 28.

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 190.

Van Oudtshoorn, F.P. (1992). Grasses of South Africa Briza Publications, South Africa Page 66. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Heteropogon contortus:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Heteropogon contortus
Flora of Caprivi: Heteropogon contortus
Flora of Malawi: Heteropogon contortus
Flora of Zambia: Heteropogon contortus
Flora of Zimbabwe: Heteropogon contortus

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Heteropogon contortus
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Heteropogon contortus
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Heteropogon contortus
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Heteropogon contortus
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Heteropogon contortus
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Heteropogon contortus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Heteropogon contortus
iNaturalist: Heteropogon contortus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Heteropogon contortus
JSTOR Plant Science: Heteropogon contortus
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Heteropogon contortus
Kew Monocotyledon checklist: Heteropogon contortus
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Heteropogon contortus
Plants of the World Online: Heteropogon contortus
Tropicos: Heteropogon contortus
Wikipedia: Heteropogon contortus

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave 2007-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Mozambique: Species information: Heteropogon contortus.
https://www.mozambiqueflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=109080, retrieved 28 March 2023

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